Shovel & A Stopwatch

 

I've forgotten what fall looks like

Weather wets the string and threads another week of 85 degrees

While blood clots at the turnpike

Bachelors wander pockets stuffed with rings

I'm disappearing daily to the trees

 

The future's near

I'm hoarding every penny from the street in case we're out of change

Before your reappear 

Remind me of the life between monotonies

Digging our new place to be

 

I've created something tiny

Jeopardy: what is a DMZ?

A trench, a safe of light and shadow for our dreams

That's right! 

The future's near

I'm hoarding every penny from the street in case we're out of change

Before your reappear 

Remind me of the life between monotonies

And all the weeks spent struggling to spell sentences 

Like "I am here" and "We are fine"

Carving out small corners of the sky for you and me

 

Let's count up the days of our separate stories 

Let them count against our separation

You said with conviction, "There must be time for us somewhere."

I quick-clicked off the stopwatch and led you into the trees

 

The future's here

And now it's safe to settle

From under here

We'll block the city with our thumb

It took a year

But now there's room for anything

So many possibilities

Like weeks to spend on sentences 

Like "We are here" and "spin the globe"

I did my best to make a little home for you and me

From Orbit

 

The questions aren't getting far as there's no sound 
You never heard me before-- you sure won't now 
But how big would I have to be 
For you to finally notice me?
A stargaze mystery
I'm the strange satellite you see

I'm way up here
I'll stay up here

In the palm of my hand 
The planet turns
Places we’ll never go 
Begin to burn away

In which of these slow dying stars
The last call lights of closing bars
Are you asleep or scared to dream?
The dark sings nightmare songs
But follow the moonbeams
If a shadow passes through, it's just me 

From way up here
(I'll keep you safe from far away) 
I'll stay up here
(Just look up I'll keep you safe) 

I'm drifting off
I'll hold you close

I'm way up here
(I'll keep you safe from far away) 
I'll stay up here
(Feel so at home so far away) 
I want you nearby
I want you with me
To see the world
The way it looks 
From above

Midnight Kids

 

We're midnight kids in our ride and confides 
We're the loud ones stuck in the cheapest seats
Speak soft in leftover hours of night 
To the future as if it was listening 

Let's think about the might it might have taken
A generation's best 
To reach from small towns into school texts
But that trail's been run so much
There's nothing left for us

But persevere and tape together headlines
Of a world beyond our means 
Wait for word to come from upstream 
Follow bread crumbs through the city
Watch the ships blow out to sea

We don't have to go home yet
We can lock the doors and try
To diagram our distance from

The perfect selves we do our best to be
Until the night knows better
Until the night knows better

List the ways we hide from passing headlights 
Cause we're more broken than we seem 
A web of days dismissed as bad dreams 
The parking lots at holy hours 
Hide our crevices in comfort 

Comfort food and conversation
Tell me how you wish you could be more
How you don’t know what you’re here for 
How our promises feel real right now
But I don’t think I’ll remember in the morning 

We don't have to go home yet

We can lock the doors and try

To diagram our distance from

The perfect selves we do our best to be

Until the night knows better

Until the night knows better

Come on, let’s drive
We don’t have much time

We're midnight kids in our ride and confides 
We're the loud ones stuck in the cheapest seats 
Speak soft in leftover hours of night 
To the future as if it was listening 

We’re midnight kids playing footloose and fast 
Our clothes stuck to the wet paint of growing up 
But for tonight the streets are where we survive 
With our four seat speeches and storms in teacups

Midnight kids, we're driving all night long to find a thing we lost inside
Before it's time to go

Boys and Their Balloons

 

I can't drag a line between horizon and the sky
Every step could change how I'm remembered now

With friends like these I'm doing fine
It's the cold vs. our design
The dark is far behind the bright white outside


Remember what father said?
Stand tall, walk on
You're a man
And you've got to make history
Now I try to take a photograph
So the world could understand
But I can't feel my hands

How the moments tease and tickle me
Swim beneath my frozen teeth
How the whole wide world would crack from the weight
Of everything I've 
achieved

I see boys and toy balloons
Of blue and yellow sailing high
Who would've reached to rhyme success with progress
If I had never tried?

Maybe I cut corners
Maybe I told tiny lies 
But nothing that size could have thrown us from the sky.... 

My body screams for an excuse
The dark's spreads out
Is it possible?
Could I have done something---
NO, I know where we're going
I know where we're going

Remember the victory
Papers and interviews
And our wives will be jealous of everything
And I ponder how it'd feel to walk a saint upon the streets 
But I can't feel my feet

Quick! Look! Man, we're here! 
We're the country's beating wings
Get an audience with the King
And the congregation sings
The congregations sings, yeah
But I can't feel a thing

Where are we going??
Where are we going?? 

 

Life After LA

 

Watch our history go
Turned over in a game of concentration
In reverse 
At first
I lost sleep on your explanations
Until the realization
I'm not safe with you anymore


When LA finally slides into the sea
We'll watch on our TVs
Stay home and grieve
But day by day, there's drift in the memory and morning priorities

Shift away from the ache
And that's you and me love
It's history now and that's all it ever will be

I'd say a word and we'd see 
Venn diagrams combine and share a meaning
Smile, draw and turn, they match
We spent hours on names and finally found a great one for the future 
But you don't call it that anymore
I'll pull on my side, you pull on yours

When LA finally slides into the sea

We'll watch on our TVs

Stay home and grieve

But day by day, there's drift in the memory and morning priorities

Shift away from the ache

And that's you and me love

It's history now and that's all it ever will be

History now and that's all it ever will be
History now, and that's all, that's all

You've got friends 
In the writer's room
I've got friends
Rewriting too
And they'll both convince us we're the more mature ones

You're getting up
And you miss me
I'm getting up
Guess what? 
In the moments right before these memories close up 
I will get better
Don't you interrupt 

We made our separate ways out 
With water round our ankles as we both looked on


LA finally fell into the sea
We watched on our TVs
Oh God, I grieved 
And day by day
The months mowed the memories that both of us could have kept safe in the morning hours but 
It'll never come back
History now, and that's all you ever will be 

North in the Morning, Pt. I

 

In between the pitches of winter on our city's bones
And the flatline crackle of our radio's lullaby 
We found a spark
North in the morning
To a dream that diluted over days into a whisper

Then a scream all at once

I think we're gonna make it 

In between the seconds that bled into these years alone
And the skin-deep questions that will rash where they lie
We pulled at the dark
Holding close and folding
Till we caved in, traded numbers, bodies, names, until a curse word brought back meaning gone for months

Set sail 

In between the glaciers rehearsing Excalibur's stone
And the racks where stillness was sovereign until our warm breath aside
You could call it an ark
The equator in the morning
Where the thaw begins and these seeds will leave their daze of exposure 
Getting closure in the safety of the soil

I think we're gonna make it 

I think we're gonna make it 

Montana

 

Montana

This is the last time

Gather everything we're owed and we'll be gone

Montana

Look out the window

At the shadows getting long in setting sun

 

Follow them past town

Into the deep frown of the cornfield rut we used to run

I promised you my share we'd never go back there

But I'd do anything

To see Mom and Dad again, so

 

Let's go home, it's been too long

Don't know what we are but I know it's gone wrong

Let's go home, let's finish strong

Could we learn tonight what we know each dawn?

 

Montana

Where are you going?

If you need to talk, why can't you talk to me?

Montana

You know I couldn't stop you

If you leave me with the screen door swinging, doppler sirens

 

Blue all around red – The ocean and hot lead

What comfort would, “I told you so,” be

Thrown at your memory?

Cut in the old tree

Yeah, I'd do anything just to keep you there with me  

Let's go home, it's been too long

Don't know what we are but I know it's gone wrong

Let's go home, let's finish strong

Could we learn tonight what we know each dawn?

 

Now the streetlights

Fight the moon's light for monopolies on who's seen more

Don’t walk away

Remember we swore we’d always get out of here

But you’d rather stay

Stay breaking bottles and searching the splinters for signs

What’s got the best of you?

Poisoned your point of view?

We could still make it through

But I think I’m losing you

 

Montana

Guess I've got an answer

Give me all the time you can and I'll be gone

Object Lesson 

 

*player piano goes nuts*

Roseland

 

I'm making history today
A few more hours, after parties and parades
I'll scratch my last line in this drywall
A tally for the ones that I leave behind

There are so many ways to wait
One's filling calendars with arbitrary dates
And all your deadlines turn to fantasies
Till the night before the morning when it's time

This is the last time I will be
What this place has made me
I'll be a stranger in this household
By this time next year
And finally
I see where the sidewalk ends
And it's not in poetry
So I'm trying to pretend
But all I know
Is I want to stay

I don't know when all this changed
The streets got wider to accommodate the barricades
Top off these sore thumb towers with people 
As we ration all our time left to feel alive

I'll put a capstone on these words contained within these walls: 
"No one ever told me seeing the world meant leaving yours behind"

This is the last time 
I will be what this place has made me
A lover's touch I won't remember
By this time next year
And finally
This town's a ballon untethered from memory
I know I'll leave in the end
This is my home
But I can't stay

We Didn't

 

Will you take your share of blame or will you take the glory? 
Han or Greedo, who shot first in your spin on the story? 

Who broke the window
Who threw the stone
Who swore we’d never be sleeping alone 
Who promised when last summer’s facepaint came off
We’d still know who we were 

We said we would be honest
But we’re not now

Nothing hurts like memory
We were friends last time it snowed here
If you’re wondering why I haven’t called
Well, I don’t wonder

I lay awake, poking sticks at the past
The crosses we made on our hearts much too fast
I see them still poking like stubborn white roots from the soil

And I could pretend it meant more than it did 
But the story is tired and I want to forget
So slowly the details get lost in the fray
The moral stays the same:

We said that it was perfect 
But it wasn’t 

And this’ll be the year I move mountains 
At least that's what I repeat to myself 
We said the world would miss us 
But it doesn’t 

I know 
I can’t be mad
I’m sure you’ve settled in your choices
As uncomfortably as I

They ask me
If I know you at all
I plug my thumb into the dike
I force a smile and say
I used to

And our friends 
Are done taking sides
If they hear me tell the tale again
It honestly might kill them

So I think 
It’s time to admit
We were young and we were half-complete
With words that lacked conviction
So it really doesn’t matter


If we said that we would make it 

Climb

 

Why keep your company with wishes
As you break another day
Out into sections where the (made of) pitch shifts
Every time you say her name

My darling 

She's not coming back
Hon, you're stuck on repeat
In a perfect past
But all of it's gone
Come down
She's not coming back
But you can sing to the streets
On your crooked mast

Your faltered lines
We’ll burn that bridge tomorrow 
But for now you’ve gotta climb 

Up in the crow’s nest with your yearbook
You call
“I think I used to love how stars look
Now I’m just afraid to fall”

I’m not sure what I can say
But here’s a bet: 
If I get you to laugh out loud in the next 10 minutes
Tell me everything

She's not coming back

Hon, you're stuck on repeat

In a perfect past

But all of it's gone

Come down

She's not coming back

But you can sing to the streets

On your crooked mast

Your broken rhymes

We’ll burn that bridge tomorrow 

But for now you’ve gotta climb 

And she's out there
But don't you worry about her now

Why wallow lonely?
Why wait for a sign until tomorrow? 

She's not coming back
Now you're stuck on repeat
In a perfect past
But all of it's gone
Come down
She's not coming back
But you can sing to the streets
Ride your crooked mast
Your faltered lines

She’s not coming back
And it shows on your cheeks
But I promise you
it’s safe to sleep 
She’s not coming back
But she won’t make you complete
Take your time to grieve
We’ll be right here 


It may not be tomorrow
But you’re gonna be fine

North in the Morning, Pt. ii

 

In between the movement from one phase of life to the next
And the dull ache of longing for something I'd never again believe
I ended up at the world's end
In the new year
With no friends and no familiar stench of home
Just silent snow
And sunless space to walk and listen for myself

I thought I'd finally found forever
Though we'd both seen better weather
We were close enough to sky to carve the clouds out
Buckets in hand we climbed

And you said, "Everything rhymes:
Our amount of time, the dimes we find on sidewalks chime in pockets miming wedding bells and lockets for a future we find in reoccurring dreams.
Everything rhymes with you and me."

But seconds from the top I turned for you
And you were gone
Making your way back down
I panned for gold in sounds of silver
But I never got to see your face again

So now we touch down in separate towns
I'm up here
You're somewhere I can't see
I guess you finally found a better home than me
And you're happy
While I'm here in what was supposed to be our city 
But if this isn't your place
Then it's mine
And I'm going outside

As the sunless day claims to start
Recite reminders of the future (just the good parts) 
I've got the snow my friends
A city, just my hands to keep me warm
A headline gig I've got to make
I think I'm gonna make it
I think I'm gonna make it